Japan’s Shimizu Corporation produces artificial intelligence suitcase


Tokyo: In recent years, the number of people with visual impairment is on a rise due to age-related issues which has led to the onset of eye disease such as glaucoma. People with such impairment face a number of challenges; among these, one of the largest hurdles that prevent social participation is the inability to move around freely.

Shimizu Corporation Institute of Technology in Tokyo hosted a press conference to announce the establishment of Consortium for Advanced Assistive Mobility Platform.

It aims to improve accessibility in society and quality of life for the visually impaired.

The consortium will develop an integrated technological solution Artificial Intelligence (AI) suitcase that will support people’s transport and communication with AI and will conduct a pilot experiment and demonstration towards ultimate implementation in society.

The consortium was inspired by the research that IBM fellow Chieko Asakawa conducted at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States on navigation for the visually impaired.

“This AI suitcase is a wearable device and suitcase-shaped navigation robot designed for the visually impaired; it can be carried around easily without stress in one’s daily life,” noted Chieko Asakawa, a fellow student at IBM.

Multiple companies in various fields of business will bring together their technologies and expertise to develop an AI suitcase. Shimizu Corporation is offering advice and technology based on their know-how regarding public space, indoor and outdoor navigation, and robotics as well as the administrative and accounting feature required for running the association.

“The suitcase is equipped with a camera, visual sensor, battery, motor, and others and will be able to identify its location then will analyse destination and the best route to use. After this information is processed, the onboard program will transmit information to the visually impaired person by technology such as vibration through the handle of the suitcase or another way like a sound command,” said Yutaka Ishikawa from Shimizu Institute of Technology.

Through a pilot experiment, the companies will identify the requirement for social implementation and aim to achieve a solution that resolves transport and communication issues for the visually impaired. (ANI)